Malaysia's largest exhibitor Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) is further strengthening itself as a pioneer in South-East Asia with the opening of a luxury-hall-only boutique cinema.

GSC Signature consists of two Gold Class and five Premiere Class halls with a combined 572 seats, making it the first such cinema without normal halls in the region.

'We aim to entice a different segment who normally doesn't go to the cinema. GSC Signature will complement our positioning with first-class service level,' said GSC general manager Irving Chee.

It is also one of four new GSC theatres that opens its doors this year and the total investment for all four cinemas stands at RM70.5m, Chee added.

The Gold Class, which offers a luxurious intimate setting with 38 and 40 seats in each hall, features full leather, electronic reclining chairs with a table attached. Cinema-goers can order refreshments through a call button which will be served to the table. Tickets are priced at RM60 for Gold Class and RM20 for Premiere Class, compared to the average RM10 for a normal ticket in Malaysia.

GSC first introduced the Gold Class concept to Malaysia when it opened an 18-screen multiplex including one Gold Class hall at Mid Valley Megamall in 1999. The cinema still remains as the largest in Asia.

GSC Signature is located at the newly opened extension of Mid Valley outside downtown Kuala Lumpur. Its official opening is scheduled for next Wednesday (Dec 5) with the premiere of Golden Compass.

The new cinema marks GSC's double openings within one week. A 13-screen and 1,925-seat multiplex is being launched today (Wednesday) at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur shopping mall along the prime Jalan Bukit Bintang area in downtown Kuala Lumpur. It includes an exclusive Gold Class with 38 seats and an international screen for foreign and local independent films.

GSC now boasts 141 screens at 21 locations nationwide, including two new cinemas with eight screens each that opened earlier this year. GSC Queensbay Mall and GSC Sunway Carnival are both located in Penang.

More new cinemas are in the works. In 2008, the opening of a five-screen multiplex at Alamanda Putrajaya is scheduled for the first quarter, followed by an eight-screener in Kota Kinabalu and a 10-screener in Malacca in the second quarter.

The continuous opening of new cinemas has been a major factor for fueling Malaysia 's box office growth.